The COVID-19 pandemic has come on suddenly and unexpectedly, and there isn’t a company in the world that isn’t changing course in one way or another. This kind of out-of-left-field crisis is the kind of thing that crisis communicators specialize in, but not every organization properly values this kind of expertise. It’s not just organizations either – many professional and student communicators don’t have the experience or interest in the field of crisis management. Let me pitch you on why you should consider specializing in crisis communications.

Let’s just start with the facts. Not everyone is suited for crisis work. It’s high-pressure, high-risk work. If you get it all wrong, like say, Tony Hayward of British Petroleum (Links to an external site.), you risk turning a crisis into a series of crises that enrage shareholders and cost you your job. A level head and creative problem solving are non-negotiable aspects of the field. If you have trouble working under pressure or tend to get thrown off your game easily, it may not be the best idea to look for crisis work. 

On the other hand, if you’re at your best when your back is to the wall, then you might have a specialization on your hands. A good thing about crisis work is that it’s often not the only role of your job – day-to-day communications work will be most of the job, but being a part of the crisis management team not only makes your position more diverse, but it also makes you less replaceable. You get to have real, tangible problems to solve, you create your own job security (f you do it well!), and most of all, you get to prove your worth to the organization, which can be a real struggle to communicators at times. It may not be fun to work 24/7 during a major crisis, but it gives a purpose and direction to your role.